The Color of Humanity in Sally Mann's South The New Yorker: Photo Booth
The Color of Humanity in Sally Mann's South
The New Yorker: Photo Booth
The Color of Humanity in Sally Mann's South The New Yorker: Photo Booth
The Color of Humanity in Sally Mann's South
The New Yorker: Photo Booth

We're in Virginia, where the photographer Sally Mann was born, in 1951, and where she still lives, making work so rooted in place that it is inseparable from history, from lore, and from the effects of slavery. Like Janus, she looks forward as she looks back, at all those bodies that made her and her place in Virginia, and into the landscape, filled with rutted earth, big or low clouds, storybook fantastic vegetation, and the Southern light that reminds so many of photography itself-dark, as Joan Didion wrote, and glowing "with a morbid luminescence." That entire vision is a part of Mann's photographs, as she asks in these images of family members, roads, rivers, churches, and the effects of blackness on whiteness and whiteness on itself: Abide with me. And it all does-voices, sounds, the invisible things that Mann's haunted and haunting photo­graphs allow us to see.

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